Philippines says Haiyan to cap economic growth at 7.0%

PHOTO: Philippines says Haiyan to cap economic growth at 7.0%

MANILA - The Philippines economy is expected to grow about seven per cent in 2013, as expansion in October-December is stunted by this month's devastating typhoon, the government said Thursday.

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said Super Typhoon Haiyan would cut up to 0.8 percentage points from from gross domestic product growth in the last quarter of the year.

His comments came as official data showed the economy, one of Asia's best performing, expanded 7.0 per cent in the three months to the end of September.

That compares with a 7.1 per cent median forecast by economists polled by the Wall Street Journal.

"We are doing every well. Even with the deceleration of growth because of (Super Typhoon) Haiyan, (full-year) growth of 7.0 per cent is 'doable' assuming no more disasters," Balisacan told a news conference.

This, he added, would still make the Philippines one of the world's fastest-growing economies, behind China.

Before Haiyan struck, officials had been confidence the country would surpass the government's full-year growth target of 6.0-7.0 per cent because of the rapid expansion in the first half.

Damage from the November 8 typhoon that officials said left more than 7,000 people dead or missing will cut GDP growth in October-December period by 0.3-0.8 percentage points, Balisacan said.

Growth for the final three months is now expected at around 7.0 per cent.

The economy grew 7.4 per cent pace in the first nine months of the year, up from 6.7 per cent in the same period last year, said Jose Albert, secretary-general of the National Statistical Coordination Board, told the news conference.

A property boom and the services sector were the main drivers of the economic expansion, he said.

- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this story -